Workshops seek views on West Berkeley transit future

The EBOT study focuses on better connections between the three cities

The EBOT study focuses on better connections between the three cities. The thick red line is a “generalized potential route.”

Three community workshops are planned to solicit views on enhancing transit in Berkeley, Emeryville and West Oakland in the next week.

The federally funded EBOTS — Emeryville, Berkeley, Oakland Transit Study — focuses on transit in neighborhoods west of San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley and Emeryville, and west of Market Street in Oakland.

The study will model transit demand, analyze gaps, compare modes and institutional structures, and plan for transit to support and be supported by economic development. The goal is a phased plan addressing short- and long-term needs to 2040. The study includes both local connections to regional transit and connections between the three areas.

The interactive workshops kick off Thursday, Nov. 7, at the West Oakland Senior Center, 1724 Adeline St., Oakland, at 6:30 p.m., continue on Saturday, Nov. 9, at the James Kenney Community Center, 1720 Eighth St., Berkeley, at 11 a.m., and conclude Tuesday, Nov. 12, at Emery Unified School District, 1275 61st St., Emeryville, at 6:30 p.m.

The transit study is paid for by a Federal Transit Administration Transit Planning Grant through Caltrans and is a collaborative effort between the cities of Berkeley, Emeryville and Oakland, and AC Transit, Amtrak/Capitol Corridor, BART, Berkeley Gateway Shuttle and Emery‐Go‐Round.

Merchants ask AC Transit to revise Line 51 plans (10.21.13)
Parking losses, lane changes possible in Line 51 overhaul (08.26.13)

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  • Old Tymer

    Given projected rising bay waters, maybe boats should be the focus?

  • Guest

    Why do we insist on endless workshops asking for the opinions of laymen instead of just hiring experts? Do we want a transit system designed by Joe the Plumber or by an expert who has spent their life studying transit issues?

  • tor_berg

    It doesn’t look like it’s an either/or. If you look at the EBOTS site, there are about a ton of local agencies involved in the study, with all their associated engineers and technocrats. So there are transit experts already involved AND they’re asking for input from the citizens who actually use the system. Why wouldn’t you want that?

    Besides, as we’re all aware, even when our fair city holds endless workshops on a municipal issue, there are still those who call the end result a “top-down process that didn’t include stakeholders.”

  • TN

    The map with its “generalized potential route” suggests that this study has the premise that the main need will be a line to connect the three areas. It is true that in many ways the areas are under-served by public transit. It is hard to travel between the areas by bus because there is no direct service connecting them. AC Transit had Line 19 for a while which provided roughly this service, but it was discontinued a few years ago with the major budget cuts. I’m not sure that a line connecting the areas is the most important need. Line 19 was a very lightly patronized route. It is not clear that there is or was a demand for the route. I don’t know if demand will increase in the future.

    Instead of seemingly starting with the premise that there is a need to fill the physical “hole” in service with a single additional approximately north-south line, I wish we could start with a study of the origins and destinations (O&D) of those people who live, work, shop and use services in the study area. We know that the travel patterns are likely to be fairly complex with people travelling into and out of the designated area as well as within the areas. But it is likely that the bulk of the trips include an east-west vector as well as a north-south vector. AC Transit is already heavily invested in north-south service along the major corridors (San Pablo, Shattuck, Telegraph, College), but that east-west service is very sparse. Its the lack of east-west service in many areas that makes buses impractical to use. It isn’t good enough that we can get north-south adequately fast by bus, if we can’t go east-west too. It may be much more useful for the study area if east-west service could be strategically upgraded instead of thinking first about an additional line.

  • tor_berg

    From a logical standpoint, it would appear to be impossible for anyone to predict that the end result of this study would be the same with or without the citizen workshops.

    From a practical standpoint, a regional transit plan that ignores the needs of transit riders is unlikely to produce a useful transit system.

    And from a cultural standpoint, this is Berkeley. We like to involve our citizens in municipal issues here.

  • tor_berg

    That is an interesting and thoughtful perspective that would be a very useful contribution to one of the community workshops!

  • Guest

    From a practical standpoint, a regional transit plan that ignores the
    needs of transit riders is unlikely to produce a useful transit system.

    Why would transit design experts make a regional transit plan that ignores the needs of transit riders? Do you understand what “expert” means?

  • TN

    I have worked as a planner for transit agencies. While my experiences are now long in the past, I do remember that transit experts do have their own personal filters, organizational traditions, and institutional political needs, which can blind even very dedicated professionals. It can be helpful to get direct, face to face or individual feedback. However feedback is never definitive.

  • southwestberkeley

    Does anyone know if anything is happening with the Berkeley ferry terminal? It seems like that would affect west Berkeley transit plans.

  • Guest

    Information gathered in workshops like this only tells us about the habits and opinions of the kinds of people who go to workshops like this.

    It would make more sense to poll current riders of various regional transit systems and do street polls of individuals in each of the various communities they are attempting to serve better with the changes.

  • guest

    Last I heard it had been effectively killed by NIMBYs and windsurfers.

  • aperson

    Here is the answer:

    The B-Line’s proposed Route B4 will connect Emeryville and sub-San Pablo West Berkeley with downtown Berkeley — in a direct no-nonsense and hyper-useful route. It’s a dream line that AC refuses to implement.

    Make it happen!